Five months in jail for abusing nurses treating him in A&E

Published: 6 Sep 2012 13:00

An 18-year-old man has been jailed for five months after he abused nursing staff who were trying to treat him at the Erne Hospital.

Blaine Duffy.

Police wrestled Blaine Duffy to the floor and removed him from the Accident and Emergency Department after he became disorderly.

They brought him back after medical staff agreed to treat his injury.

CCTV of the incident showed him struggling with police and having to be restrained.

District Judge Austin Kennedy told Duffy it was traumatic enough for people attending hospital without having to sit there watching his "appalling" behaviour. He could only expect to be dealt with by way of a custodial sentence.

Duffy, from Drumbawn Close, Enniskillen, admitted being disorderly at the Accident and Emergency Department and assaulting and resisting police on March 18. He also pleaded guilty to stealing three bottles of Smirnoff vodka and two cooler bags worth £47.95 from the Lidl store in Enniskillen and unlawfully assaulting three girls and a police officer on July 24. The teenager further admitted unlawfully possessing cannabis and Diazepam on August 15, last year.

A prosecutor told Fermanagh Court that at approximately 4.45pm on Tuesday, July 24, police spoke to a member of the security staff at Lidl who told them the alarm had gone off as Duffy and another man were leaving the store. Staff checked the stock and three bottles of vodka were missing. CCTV showed Duffy acting as look-out as his accomplice lifted the bottles and put them into black bags. They then took a bag each and left without paying for the vodka.

The court heard that a short time later, at 5.10pm, police received a report that Duffy was causing a disturbance at a house in the town. He had come in through the back door, grabbed a young woman by the throat and pushed her up against the door. He was pulled off the woman by a man but then lunged at another young woman with a clenched fist, however a third young woman intervened. As he walked past the third woman, he tried to kick her. He was heard swearing on his nephews' and mother's lives that he would burn the house down. When he saw the police he threw a glass at them and ran away but was apprehended at playing fields a short time later. He told the police he had been "partying" for two weeks and could not remember any of the offences but denied stealing the vodka and assaulting the three women.

The prosecutor told the court that almost a year earlier, on August 15, 2011, at 1.40am, police were called to Duffy's mother's house at Drumbawn. He had taken an accidental overdose of drugs and needed medical attention. His mother handed the officers 12 Diazepam tablets she had found and they also seized four "wraps" containing 5.9 grammes of herbal cannabis.

Then in the early hours of the morning after St. Patrick's Day, around 1.30am on March 18, police were called to an alleged assault at Beech Hill, Enniskillen, and spoke to a tearful and injured 15-year-old girl. She told the officers that Duffy had lost his temper but she did not want to make a complaint. Police were called back to a disturbance at the house and took Duffy to the Erne Hospital with an injured finger. It was there that he became aggressive towards nursing staff who were trying to treat him.

Defence barrister, Miss Heather Philips, said Duffy waved his right to a pre-sentence report by a probation officer as he recognised the seriousness of the offences. He was a young man who had over-indulged in alcohol and prescription drugs.

Referring to the attack on the girls at the house, Miss Philips said Duffy was "appalled and can't quite believe the manner in which he behaved towards these three women".

She pointed out that he only made contact with one of them.

Miss Philips described the drugs offences as being of "some vintage". Duffy's mother contacted the police and when the officers found him he had consumed "a very large amount of these drugs". It was a very difficult situation "and probably one he is lucky to have come out the other side of".

Miss Philips told the court: "Prescription medication is becoming increasingly available and increasingly dangerous."

Turning to the disturbance at the Erne Hospital, the barrister said Duffy had sustained an injury and was taken to the Accident and Emergency Department and the nurse he abused "did treat him ultimately, once he had calmed down".

The District Judge told Duffy he was building up a criminal record with a catalogue of consistent offending and had spent time in and out of custody.

Jailing him for five months, he told the teenager: "You don't seem to have learnt your lesson at all."

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